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Tongaat Hulett Profit Increases 30% as Sugar Output Advances

Tongaat Hulett Ltd., South Africa’s largest sugar producer by market value, said first-half profit rose as production increased and costs declined.

Net income increased 30 percent to 655 million rand ($75 million) in the six months through September from a year earlier, the Mount Edgecombe-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 23 percent to 7.4 billion rand, it said. Earnings per share climbed 27 percent to 5.94 rand.

“Total sugar sales volumes in the first six months of the 2012/13 year were 9 percent above the first half of last year, with higher sugar production levels, a larger crop and a drive to end the milling season earlier this year,” the company said.

Tongaat estimates full-year sugar production will increase as much as 15 percent following a 14 percent jump in output last year. While the sugar season has advanced, excessive rainfall could hamper harvesting and lead to cane being carried over to the next season, the company said.

The stock fell 0.6 percent to 133.15 rand, its lowest on a closing basis since July 18, by 10:14 a.m. in Johannesburg. About 9,300 shares, or 5.2 percent of the daily average over the last three months, changed hands.

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